Our news story this week, highlighted a report from Consultus Care and Nursing, ‘The Care Choice Gap’. The report called for Commissioners to offer care that meets an individual’s needs and for families to think more about how they will achieve the type of care they want. Consultus a live-in care and nursing provider called for more awareness about 24/7 live-in care and identified how this meets a person’s needs. Care Industry News spoke to Maria Richards, a self-employed live-in carer with Consultus, she explained the importance of the live-in care role
“I have been a live-in carer for the last eight and a half years. Back in South Africa, I qualified as a kindergarten teacher and had experience of teaching and working with pre-school children for about nine years. When my two daughters finished their school careers, the minister of our church approached me and asked me whether I would support and care for the wife of one of our emeritus ministers who was terminally ill.
“Following this experience and the enjoyment of caring for someone, I chose to pursue a career as a live-in carer. Whilst I have provided care to many people during my years as a carer, I recall one particular lady who had been a long term client:
“For five years I had the privilege to care for a delightful and fascinating 91-year-old lady who suffered from vascular dementia. It was very important for me to make sure that I could become a good companion to her and that she was able to trust me. I was able to do this by addressing her fears and providing reassurance that she was coping with everyday life. I followed the same routine to minimise her anxiety and to comfort her I made sure that she could identify with her surroundings.
“As a result of working on building trust, I was able to take her out to places of interest and for a visit to a coffee shop etc. As prearranged appointments made her very anxious, and she loved to dress up for the occasion, I followed a routine of informing her just before we had to leave, meaning that she didn’t have time to become distressed about her outfit. She had twelve wardrobes full of clothes and shoes! Another distracting technique was to help her rearrange her wardrobes and to clean her shoes – a task she adored.
“I felt I was able to comfort and support her to preserve her self-esteem and to keep as much independence as possible. Her eventual trust in me allowed her to transfer her anxieties to me rather than to her family. I engaged closely with the family by liaising with her daughter-in-law for all medical matters and her daughter for financial matters and visits.
Most importantly I feel it essential to always keep the person involved in any decision, which in turn helps them feel in control and effectively makes my job as a carer most worthwhile and satisfying. “
Typical Day for Maria, my day is centred around the person I care for, making the client feel like the person in charge.
- 7am wake up, but sometimes earlier, provide tea and then getting breakfast ready. Most of my clients have their breakfast to get their sugar levels up.
- I get their clothes ready, bath or shower them for the day, this can take over an hour
- We then go through to the sitting room and I make them comfortable, providing regular drinks
- Morning activities could be doing the crossword, reading the paper together, administration, I do housework and flower arranging
- Some like to watch TV or listen to the radio, we walk around the house or garden if they are able, take some exercise, listen to their music, whatever they like.
- I shop for them if they want me to, or they come out shopping with me if they are able
- Then I cook a nice meal for lunch, ensuring they choose what they like
- I help them take their medication
- We sit at table and share lunch together and always dessert!
- 2pm My clients often take a snooze after lunch, and I take a break.
- 4pm cake and tea and a chat, sometimes we have family and friends come over and we provide food for them too.
- The afternoons are taken up with mental stimulation, either scrabble, quizzes, sometimes reading. I am their companion as well as their carer.
- 6.30pm dinner time.
- I respect whatever the client wants to do, whether she wants company or doesn’t, watches TV or peace and quiet.
- 10pm, most of my clients are ready for bed, I get them washed and ready for bed. I provide them with whatever they need for the night.
- Sometimes we get called upon in the night, but not very often.